Houston is a destination hotspot, to say the least. From the burgeoning culinary scene, to the thriving nightlife, to the city’s main attractions, it’s increasingly becoming one of the top cities to visit in the United States. So much so, that Houston is already setting the stage to host more than 200,000 fans for the 51st edition of the Super Bowl in early 2017 at NRG Stadium, which is also the home of the NFL’s Texans.
The most important decision when planning your visit to Houston (or any city, in fact) is deciding where to lay your head every night. And while hotels are typically the first thought when making accommodations, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) have been growing in popularity for a number of reasons — namely, cost, comfort, and the family-style environment. These mini-residences combine the chic style of hotels with private rooms and a home-cooked meal.
For those unfamiliar, there are more than 30,000 bed and breakfast establishments in the country, but sadly only about 1% are black-owned. Don’t get it twisted, however — just because the numbers are lacking doesn’t mean that these options aren’t some of the most luxurious, five-star accommodations that you will come across.
Lodging in one of the few, but hailed, African American–owned bed and breakfasts would ensure coverage of all your vacation needs — especially if you’re staying at La Maison in Midtown. Dispelling the notion that “sisters” can’t support and grow with each other, Houston attorney Genora Boykins and her business partner Sharon Owens are the epitome of brilliant, boss women. And they are also the founders of La Maison in Midtown.
Inspired by the architecture of New Orleans, the three-story B&B features seven unique and well-appointed guest rooms (all accessible via elevator) that offer amenities like whirlpool tubs, walk-in showers, flat-screen TVs, bathrobes, Wi-Fi, and great views of the downtown skyline. As soon as you walk through the doors, you will understand the “wow” factor of staying at La Maison.
As you continue on your tour, if you head to the second level, there’s also a 310-square-foot conference room available for private business meetings. Downstairs, a parlor, living room, and dining room area lends to the property’s cozy, at-home vibe and plays host to a daily, Southern-style breakfast.
Building your own B&B is no easy feat. Though the property was built in 1999, it was not opened until 2010. Genora Boykins shared, “For the most part, it was about trying to wait until the area was very well developed, and also just figuring out the bed and breakfast industry, since neither of us had that previous experience. We knew exactly what we wanted to do, however.”
“We were very intentional when we created the B&B [La Maison] and the concept that we were trying to achieve. We wanted it to be a place where people would feel very comfortable and cozy, but also wanted the rooms to have a hotel feel, because that’s what people typically don’t like about B&Bs. We wanted to have the same amenities that you would find at a hotel, so that you are able to find the best of both worlds.”
Sharon Owens chimed in, “We also looked at other bed and breakfasts. For instance, with the elevator — we knew that we wanted more than a two-story property, and if you have more than that, we didn’t want people to have to lug their luggage up stairs. We wanted to attract a particular, more modern clientele.”
Both women also know the meaning of hard work. While building and opening La Maison in Midtown, the women were juggling multiple hats while maintaining their full-time roles. And their work ethic is a testament to the success that they have seen thus far. Says Genora, “It’s one thing to have a mental understanding, but it’s another thing to have to implement and go through. The only thing you wish is that you have more experience to understand the niche, and be able to market it. I wish I had known how much time it would have taken to be able to market it.”
You have to visit Houston to experience La Maison for yourself. The ladies have no plans of expansion anytime soon. Genora shared with us, “I’m very very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, but absolutely not. The most important thing for both of us is to see that La Maison is successful. Houston is a very entrepreneurial city, and they embrace that spirit, so we’re happy to operate here. If we can make La Maison a place that is more well known than it is today, then we would have succeeded.”
As you’re planning your visit to La Maison in Midtown, just know that it is centrally located within the city. Surrounded by some of Houston’s finest dining and entertainment venues with easy access to the Theater District, all of Houston’s major sporting venues, premier colleges and universities, as well as some of Houston’s best shopping areas, this world-class experience is sure not to disappoint.
Rates at La Maison in Midtown start at $169. For more information, and to book your stay, visit http://www.lamaisonmidtown.com.
article by Kimberly Wilson via blackenterprise.com